With the African Nations Cup looming, Arsene Wenger finds himself short on forwards and has begun to contemplate a loan move for the Gunners’ all-time leading scorer, Thierry Henry.

Henry, who currently plays for New York Red Bulls in the United States’ Major League Soccer, could be available for a two-month loan spell to help cover while Ivorian Gervinho and Moroccan Marouane Chamakh are away at the ANC.  I have to ask, is this good idea?

Thierry the Great

The kid in me came out when I first read that Wenger could re-sign our former captain.  Just the thought of Henry, the player who I have idolized all my life, returning to Arsenal was exciting.  How could this be anything but a great idea?  What a potentially great Christmas present for Gooners worldwide.

I’m sure many shared that sentiment as an initial reaction.  When I think of Thierry Henry, I think of his great goal from outside the box against Manchester United.  I think of him storming through the Liverpool defense and giving the Gunners the lead.  I think of the last great memory I have of him, scoring from an Emmanuel Eboue cross with his head in the 94th minute to beat Manchester United during the 2006-07 campaign (one of the few highlights from that season).

All I remember of Henry in an Arsenal shirt is greatness.  Greatness the likes of which, quite frankly, I don’t fully expect to see in my lifetime.  I was young when he was at the peak of his powers, which somewhat skews my memory of him into a football Superman.  He was a player with superpowers, a player who was larger than life.

Memories are great things, and I will carry those with me all my life.  But there is a simple truth that the now adult me must come to grips with.

Thierry Henry is not that player anymore.

Something about Sundays often leaves me confused. And unfortunately this past Sunday seemed worse than usual and contrary to the usual, Monday morning did very little to clear my mind and shake my sense of agitation.

Of course, it’s obvious Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City is to blame as the impetus of my consternation and, really, how could you argue?

After all, it was a game where we matched the northern oil barons stride for stride, and shot for shot only to fall short in the end. Afterwards pundits  all over the blogosphere were applauding the Gunners’ courage in this fixture, their fortitude to attack when others would not dare, and some fine work by Joe Hart to keep Arsenal from snatching a result.

Watching the game I could do little to disagree. It was a fantastic, end-to-end affair, with both clubs creating chances through dizzying movement and pinpoint passing which was only undone by top-class goalkeeping. If anything, this game proved we support a very good team that, on its day, can put its financial differences aside and compete with the top clubs in the world.

This is where my confusion creeps in. After all, at the end of the day, we still lost.

So why all the pats on the back?

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Here I was, getting ready to write an insightful and lucid piece on the positive influence one Andre Clarindo dos Santos has had on our beloved Arsenal and, wouldn’t you know it, he plants his foot wrong on a nothing play in a nothing game and is out injured.

Yes, I had it all worked out. I was going to highlight how the squad has only lost once since the Samba man was introduced to the Premier League in a 2-1 victory versus Sunderland.  I was going to talk about how, in that span, the squad has averaged over two goals per game including the five-goal barrage at Stamford Bridge, three goals versus Stoke City and West Brom, and four goals versus Wigan this past weekend.

Of course, it’s nothing new to have a Brazilian left back make a team more dynamic offensively – that’s about as surprising as a pair of scantily clad hips gyrating at a Carnival parade. But what is surprising is that Santos’ marauding ways have seemed to have a positive effect on the defensive side of the ball.  Simply look at the fact the team has only shipped out 10 goals over their recent run of form (with three coming in the win over Chelsea) and you see there is an argument to be made.

On Wednesday night there was one player who finally captured the attention of many that he’s long been deserving. Alex Songs’ mazy run between three Dortmund defenders and pinpoint cross to the back post for Van Persie were more reminiscent of Robert Pires in his heyday than of a defensive midfielder, however this season Song has finally achieved the balance between the rock in midfield and providing another vital prong to our attacking force in the final third.

Birthing Pains

Wenger snapped Song up Alex Song in the pre-season of the 2005-06 season initially on loan, but the young Cameroonian impressed him so much he offered 1 million pounds for the versatile and energetic midfielder and Bastia agreed to sell him. Things were not plain sailing for Song however, he was ridiculed by rival fans and Arsenal fans alike. His seeming inability to control the ball and pass to a team mate made many critics wonder what had gone through Wenger’s head when he decided to sign him. This culminated at Craven Cottage where Song was booed so heavily and playing so poorly that Wenger substituted him before half-time. What a far-cry from that player we have now.

Drafted in initially in the Champions League qualifier against Udinese, he then had to endure the shock and humiliation of playing against Manchester United. Even in the Udinese game, when he gave a broadly satisfactory performance given it was his first outing, he had the embarrassment of Bacary Sagna offering to swap sides (when he came on as a replacement for Gibbs, Sagna came running across the pitch suggesting that Carl might prefer to move across to his favoured right-back position).

After a start like that, any other 19 year old (with one notable exception) might be forgiven for feigning an injury, or putting in a bid to be loaned-out to another club.

But, credit to Jenkinson, he's stuck in there and - with Sagna now sadly sidelined for a few months - he's been given another opportunity to show his worth as a first-team player.

His talent is still raw, and he doesn't have the confidence of the other new (but much more experienced) full-back, Santos.  But on Sunday, against Sunderland, he surely showed us Gooners that he's here to stay and is determined to make a real mark.